Scientists have identified a fossil found in Antarctica as belonging to the giant bird Pelagornithidae, which lived close to 50 million years ago. These birds had wingspans of up to 21ft—double the wingspan of today’s largest bird, the wandering albatross. This extinct group of birds patrolled the southern oceans. The study shows that the birds evolved to a truly gigantic size quickly after the extinction of dinosaurs and ruled the Earth’s oceans for millions of years. Pelagornithids were also known as bony-toothed birds because of their sharp, pointed teeth. Their teeth were not like those of humans or other mammals; they were covered with a material resembling our fingernails. These teeth would help the birds catch and rip squids and other fish from the sea.
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